Breeding turf grasses

    Project Details


    Main research question/goal
    The aim of this project is to improve perennial ryegrass and red fescue for use as ideal turf grass. People want their lawn to look healthy and green all year long. Some want to play on the lawn without the risk of bald spots, others prefer an ornamental lawn that serves as some kind of outdoor carpet. Perennial ryegrass is notable for quick germination and high recovery. It forms a dense sod resistant to treading and playing. Red fescue is characterized by a rather slow growth, good shade tolerance and drought resistance. It tolerate short mowing. Of course disease resistance against rust, Fusarium patch, pink snow mold and red thread are also very important. The aim of the breeding of both species is to combine as many as possible of these positive traits in on cultivar. The prefernce of the user, its use, soil and mowing frequency determine the choice of the species.

    Research approach
    Individual plants and clones of both species are scored. The best clones are used for approximately a hundred crosses each year. These are then used to sow observation plots. They are scored for colour, growth, persistence, thickness of the leaves, sod density, winter survival, drought tolerance and disease resistance. The most important characteristic of perennial ryegrass is recovery capacity. To test this, the plots are trampled with a specially designed trampling machine. Since seed production is becoming even more important, turf grasses are tested for seed yielding capacity in special seed production trials.

    Three cultivars of perennial ryegrass and two cultivars of red fescue have been listed and marketed. One new cultivar of perennial ryegrass with a very high seed production is extremely promising in official German trials. Every year, new promising cultivars are tested.
    Effective start/end date1/01/1131/12/16